How The Period Purse has lead me to become one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence
It all started with one idea. One purse. One ah-ha moment. I asked myself, what do people experiencing homelessness do when they get their periods?
One action to many, to dozens of volunteers, and now almost two years since, this one simple idea has resulted in giving over 16,000 healthy periods to menstruators living in marginalized communities across Ontario and Saskatchewan.
I am so lucky to have been quickly surrounded by dedicated volunteers that make up The Period Purse. They are the engine. I’m a full-time teacher and mama of two boys, and when the sun goes down at the end of the day, I put on my “Founder and Chair of The Period Purse,” hat. I’ve developed a passion for menstrual equity and am committed to making time to challenge Canada’s leaders to join me in this important work.
At the Top 25 Women of Influence luncheon in late 2018, I was honoured alongside fellow empowering Canadian women.
“Women of Influence,” is a strong descriptor. I didn’t even know this annual list existed until a friend shared that I had made it in 2018. Tears rolled down my face when I saw the other names listed beside mine. This was big.
Guests and honourees had the opportunity to speak with Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the event. I made sure I introduced myself to Minister Freeland, which lead to a remarkable chat that reminded me about my self-confidence and grit, while also providing reassurance that I do indeed have the knowledge and the tools to discuss menstrual equity and marginalization as a leader, myself.
Among many key takeaways from my discussion with Minister Freeland, one of the most significant conversation pieces was about how we would collectively increase awareness about the importance of providing equal access to menstrual products to all Canadians.
I will never forget her words: “I want to work with you. We are going to get this done.”
With the potential opportunity to connect with more national ambassadors of change in Ottawa and beyond, I am thrilled at the largescale, positive impact The Period Purse will make in 2019 and onwards.
Throughout this journey, The Period Purse, and the people I’ve met along the way have taught me so much. I’m forever humbled by the opportunity to be one of Canada’s 2018 Women of Influence and I remain inspired by our work and the supportive, ever-growing community that has rallied behind us.
And, Minister Freeland, I look forward to working with you too!
Jana Giradauskas is the Founder of The Period Purse. As a teacher and entrepreneur, over the past year, Jana has successfully rallied period advocates, the City of Toronto, and countless volunteers to recognize and open the conversation around menstruation and the challenges faced by people experiencing homelessness.